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Spotlight on All-Star Storytellers:
Larry Ivkovich

December 19th, 2014

Larry IkovichIt’s almost here. Not Christmas. Not New Year’s Eve. I’m talking All-Start Storytelling, the event that will feature this year’s top storytellers from Story Night @ Riley’s Pour House.

With fewer than two weeks to go to the event, I’d like to begin highlighting some of the storytellers who will be appearing at our year-end competition.

First up is Story Night regular Larry Ivkovich, who made his first Riley’s appearance at the Writers on Writing session back in May. He then returned in July for Midsummer Night Stories and again in August for Mannequin Adventures.

sixth-precept-front-cover-lighter-shadeLarry has a personable, folksy style that complements the intimate setting of Riley’s, and we’re excited to have him returning for an encore performance.

In addition to telling stories, Larry is an accomplished writer, with a number of short story credits in various publications, including Penumbra Magazine, Twisted Cat Tales, Abaculus III, and Triangulations.

His short fiction has also earned him distinction as a  finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest and a recipient of the 2010 CZP/Rannu Fund Award for fiction.

His novels include  The Sixth Precept and Blood of the Daxas. The latter debuted earlier this month at Rickert & Beagle Books.

Connolly at Story Night PPG croppedAll-Star Story Night at Riley’s begins at 8:00 PM on Tuesday, December 30. Other storyteller will include Michael A. Arnzen, Joe Collucio, Owen Kilbane, Michael McBurney, Marlene Pendleton, Karyn Rok, Martha Swiss, Richard “Shaug” Shaughnessy, C. S. Wyatt, and Stephanie Wytovich.

For more information, please see Bob Podurgiel’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette feature article, which includes a review of our holiday-themed November event as well as an All-Star Night preview. It’s good reading.

More storyteller spotlights will be coming soon. Until then . . . scop on!

Image Credits:

Larry Ivkovich at Writers on Writing @ Riley’s, May 2014. Photo by Karen Yun-Lutz.

The Sixth Precept. IFWG Publishing, 2011.

The 21st Century Scop hosting Holiday Stories @ Riley’s, November 2014.
by Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette.

 

August Mania:
Madness, Music, and Mannequins

August 8th, 2014

Connolly Wytovich ArnzenSorry. Couldn’t resist the alliteration, but it’s as good a way as any to summarize this month’s events.

The Madness

That’s madness of the fun variety, of course. Earlier this week I joined Raw Dog Screaming Press authors Stephanie M. Wytovich and Michael A. Arnzen for a reading at Rickert & Beagle Books. That’s the three of us on the left, standing beneath the store’s Horror sign (although it does seem as if Mike is actually standing beneath the Mental Health sign).

Stephanie opened the reading with the poem “Daddy’s Little Grave Digger,” from her new collection Mourning Jewelry. It’s the second time I heard her read it, the first being earlier this summer at the Pennsylvania Literary Festival. At both readings I was impressed with her ability to deliver the poem in a tone that conveyed both a sense of dread and whimsy. Great stuff.

She also read excerpts from last year’s Bram Stoker nominated Hysteria: A Collection of Madness and a few new poems – indicating that a new collection may be on the horizon.

Write or die 2Always the technology integrator, Mike shared a new story written using the apps Brainstormer and Write Or Die.  The first provided him with three randomly selected words: remorse, dying, and puppet. The second threatened to scream at him if he stopped writing or (worse) erase his words if he fell behind on his intended goal. Fortunately Mike managed in producing a 1,255 word first draft in under 30 minutes. He then edited it to a tight 850 word narrative, which he shared at the Rickert & Beagle reading.

Titled “A Check-Up for Mr. Bangles,” the story about a father performing a medical exam on his daughter’s toy is at once creepy and hilarious.

outside rileys1The Music

This weekend I’ll be teaming up with Duane Davis (long-time bassist for the Laughrey Connolly Band) and Lauren Connolly Moore for a show under the big tent at Riley’s Pour House.

As always, we’ll start with ballads and build to a raucous finale. The show will run from 8:00 to Midnight, and the weather looks like it’s going to be perfect for an outdoor show.

Really looking forward to this one!

mannequins

The Mannequins

This month’s Storytelling Night at Riley’s will feature our first thematic double bill: Mannequin Tales and Back to School Adventures.

We’re currently taking advance signup for storytelling. If you have a story about mannequins or a memory about returning to school, we’d love to add you to our growing roster of storytellers.

Please note, your stories do not need to include both themes. For this event, we’ll be presenting two sets of stories on a double-bill program reminiscent of the heyday of drive-in cinema.

Please check out some of the stories featured on our previous storytelling nights The Writing Life, Stories from the Theatre, and Midsummer Night Stories for an idea of what we’re looking for.

That’s a summary of the big events for this month. Updates coming soon. Until then, scop on!

More Highlights from Stories @ Riley’s

July 24th, 2014

New Death

So much to do . . . so little time!

If you live in the western Pennsylvania area, the next few days are going to offer something for everyone: the world-premier comedy A New Death at The Throughline Theatre in Lawrenceville (currently running through July 26), the Confluence science fiction convention in Mars (July 25-27), and our monthly Storytelling Night at Riley’s Pour House in Carnegie (July 29).

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Interestingly, some of the people central to this week’s Throughline and Confluence events were featured at last month’s Storytelling Night, which makes this a good time to post more Storytelling podcasts.

SONY DSCAs regulars to this blog know, Storytelling Night @ Riley takes place on the last Tuesday of every month, and each night centers on a theme. Last month’s theme was theatre stories, and the event featured stories by Michael McBurney and Sean Sears (both featured in previous blogs); C. S. Wyatt, Joe Coluccio, and Pete Grubbs (all featured below), and Hazel Carr Leroy, whom I hope to feature in an upcoming blog.

C. S. Wyatt is the author of A New Death, which premiered last week at Throughline Theatre and continues through this weekend. I’m going to see it tonight, and–judging from the story C. S. told at Riley’s last month–I’m sure I’m in for a night of laughs and insights into the ironies of everyday life. You can listen to the audio of that performance by clicking the player below. Enjoy . . . and then be sure to scroll down for the stories by Joe Coluccio and Pete Grubbs.

In addition to being a fine storyteller, performer, radio personality, and all-around good guy, Joe Coluccio serves a president of PARSEC — an organization that bills itself as Pittsburgh’s Premier Science Fiction & Fantasy Organization. This weekend, PARCEC will be hosting its annual science fiction, fantasy, and horror convention at the Four Points Sheraton in Mars, PA. I’ll be there . . . and so will Joe Coluccio.

One of the appeals of Confluence is its strong literary focus. Whereas some events billing themselves as science fiction conventions focus more on movies and gaming, Confluence prides itself in being predominately a literary convention. It also features the work of artists who perform stories in the most ancient of all literary traditions — the art of song. So if you’re attending Confluence, be prepared to listen to some of today’s top genre writers talking about and reading from their work. But you can also expect to hear some incredible musicians. One of those musicians will be Pete Grubbs, who this year will be performing as Confluence’s Filksinger Emeritus. Yes, that’s filk singer. For more information on filking, click here. For a story by Pete Grubbs, click below.

I hope all of this is enough to encourage you to check out both Throughline and Confluence, and I definitely hope that the stories have you considering turning out for the July 29th installment of Storytelling Night @ Riley’s. Our theme this time will be Midsummer Night Stories (think summer vacation, first love, and campfire tales!), and — weather permitting — we hope to hold the event on Riley’s new outdoor stage.

Stories beneath the stars! What’s not to love?

Scop on!

connolly bio blogThe host of Storytelling Night at Riley’s: Bram Stoker Award finalist Lawrence C. Connolly is the author of the Veins Cycle books, the first of which, Veins, has just been released in a special Kindle edition from Fantasist Enterprises.  The third book in the series, Vortex, will debut in print and ebook later this year.

 

Randall Silvis:
One of the Writers on Writing @ Riley’s

May 18th, 2014

The first in a series of profiles on some of the writers being featured at this month’s Writers on Writing @ Riley’s.

Silvis, Randall 2Hailed as “a masterful storyteller” by the New York Times Book Review, Randall Silvis is the author of fourteen critically acclaimed books of fiction and nonfiction in various genres.

A former contributing writer for the Discovery Channel magazines, he is also a prize-winning playwright, produced screenwriter, prolific essayist, and the first Pennsylvania writer to win the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Other literary awards include two literature fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, six fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for his fiction, drama, and screenwriting, a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Award, and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania for “distinguished literary achievement.”

chasingtheboo

Randall’s books include , Disquiet Heart, Flying Fish, and On Night’s Shore, which Publishers Weekly calls  “a satisfying literary mystery with a convincing picture of [Edgar Allan] Poe.”

In addition to his numerous works of fiction, Randall is the author of several books about writing and the writing life: Chasing the Boo, True Stories & Reflections from the Writer’s Life, What I Know, More True Stories & Reflections from the Writer’s Life, and 10 Easy Steps To Becoming A Writer, And Other True Stories of the Writing Life.

He is also one of the contributors to Many Genres One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction and a residency writer at Seton Hill University’s graduate program on Writing Popular Fiction.

PaLitFestIn the weeks ahead, he will be appearing at the Pennsylvania LitFest and the In Your Write Mind Workshops, but you can catch him first on May 27 at Riley’s Pour House where he will be presenting a memoir in doggerel titled “Requiem.” Not to be missed.

The evening kicks off at 8:00 PM at Riley’s Pour House, 215 East Main Street, Carnegie, PA 15106. There’s no cover. Come early, meet the writers, and get ready to experience the art of story from some of the contemporary masters of the craft.

Look for more author profiles soon, and, if you find yourself sharing my excitement for this event, be sure to circle May 27 on your calendar.

When the scops descend on Riley’s, you’ll want to be there.

veinsBram Stoker Award finalist Lawrence C. Connolly (the 21st-Century Scop) is the author of the Veins Cycle books, the first of which, Veins (2008), has just been released for the first time in a special Kindle edition (complete with the original illustrations) from Fantasist Enterprises.  The third book in the series, Vortex, (with illustrations by Rhonda Libbey) will debut in print and ebook on July 1.